Brooks Hays - The 1958 Election

The 1958 Election

The major issue of the day was President Dwight D. Eisenhower's sending in federal troops to integrate Central High School in Little Rock (see also Little Rock Integration Crisis). Most Arkansas politicians opposed the intervention, but Hays (D) tried to mediate the standoff between the federal government and Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus. Hays was not an integrationist, but his actions inflamed segregationists in the state, who rallied around Amis Guthridge the attorney for several segregationist groups in the Democratic primary. Guthridge was backed by the White Citizens Council and ran on a pro-segregation platform. Hays prevailed by a 3–2 margin in the primary. Then, with just a week to go before the November election, Dale Alford, a member of the Little Rock school board, launched a write-in bid against Hays. Backed by Faubus' allies, Alford won in a major upset by just over 1,200 votes (51–49 percent). It was one of only three times in the past half-century (this was asserted in 2006) that a write-in candidate won a Congressional election.

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